Denisa, her two sisters, and her Mother spent several days on their annual girl trip while we were back in Oklahoma. Over the last 25 years, their girl trips have taken them on road trips, cruises, and plane trips across the country. But this year we decided to stay close to home, discovering things in our own backyard. So after our first day's activities in Pawhuska, this day we found ourselves in Bartlesville, Oklahoma--and the Phillips home.
Frank and Lois Phillips built this home in 1909, and raised their family here. We learned much about the man that founded the Phillips 66 company, and found out why this family was loved in Bartlesville. Their granddaughter lived in this house until it was donated to the Oklahoma Historical Society. The family had the foresight to store the original furnishings, so we got to see the house just as it looked in the early 1900's. It was one of our favorite house tours ever, with a behind-the-scenes look at the private life of an oil tycoon.
We saw the influence of the Phillips family empire throughout town. We also visited the Phillips 66 Museum in downtown Bartlesville. Denisa's Mother is reliving memories of those old gas pumps. We enjoyed watching the old gas commercials, and learning where the "66" in the company logo came from.
The "66" shows up prominently in front of this unusual office building. This is Price Tower, and its claim to fame is that it is the only skyscraper designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
This started as an office building, but has now morphed into an inn that rents overnight rooms to tourists that enjoy unusual hotel stays.
Price Tower was built in the 1950's, and the lobby still looks like it did at that time.
The town of Bartlesville is decorated by bison that are painted in different themes. These two bison feature a Native American influence, as well as the importance of music that brings the Oklahoma Mozart International Festival to town every summer.
There was also a black and orange bison sporting a big OSU cowboy hat. Denisa's sister volunteered for this picture since both her children graduated from college there.
Our girl trip took us to some of the surrounding towns. Dewey, Oklahoma is known for its antique shops, as well as the Dewey Hotel. Built in 1900, it is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Our girl trip also took us down a bumpy gravel road to find a field of bowling ball sculptures literally in the middle of nowhere.
Mr. Chris Barbee came out to meet us, and explained the reason for having over 3,100 bowling balls in his yard. It seems he needed a project to keep him entertained after he retired. He also obviously enjoys meeting the people that stop by to see his collection, and he offered to take our picture in front of his bowling ball house. When Denisa got her phone back, she found that he had taken 33 pictures of us.
Most of the 3,100 balls have been donated, and he often gets them in the mail from past visitors. One arrived lately from Alaska, and now he has one from every state. As you can see from the pictures, the heat of summer and the cold of winter has caused many of the bowling balls to split. He used over 1,000 of those balls in the construction of this pyramid.
We enjoyed the different creative ways he has used bowling balls in his front yard.
He literally has made everything from A to Z, and he is stumped for a new idea for the next bowling ball sculpture.
We made the bowling ball stop on the way to an evening performance in the "Picture in Scripture" amphitheater south of Grand Lake. We had never heard of this place before, but they have been doing a summer play on this outdoor stage for 28 years. This year's play was "Damascus Road" about Paul's path to becoming a Christian.
The same couple that directs the play also has therapy animals in the barn behind the theatre. We paid the extra fee to see the animals that would be seen on stage later.
This guy didn't fit into the Damascus story, but it was still fun to pet a zebra. The kangaroos didn't cooperate with the petting zoo, and they also were not on stage so we didn't get pictures of them.
But the corral-full of horses and donkeys made an appearance on stage, and they also appreciated the attention at the petting zoo.
It was a late night drive after the play to our hotel along Route 66. This famous road winds its way across Oklahoma. The next morning we stopped at a Route 66 icon--the Blue Whale of Catoosa.
We made our last stops of the trip in Tulsa. We went to the 11:00 service at the Boston Avenue Methodist Church, in its huge round sanctuary.
There's a tour of the church immediately after morning services. Built in 1929, it's another Oklahoma structure on the National Register of Historic Places. Our tour guide has been a member of the church for 43 years, and she loved to explain the significance of the broken arches and floral icons that are repeated both inside and outside of the church.
Almost all of the stops we made in our three-day girl trip were new to us, even though all four of us have spent much of our lives in this state. This trip proves that some times it's nice to stay close to home. And it's always nice to spend time with these very special "girls".